People with real superhuman qualities and powers are something we only see within the pages of glossy comic books, or are they?
Is it possible that real life people with superhuman powers can be walking among us?
Take a look at these Adventurers, a handful of superhumans who defy conventional science and the odds.
The Ultra Marathon Man – Dean Karnazes
Running 26.2 miles (the length of your typical marathon) is an impressive feat for any person. The race stands as the ultimate test of endurance and physical and mental stamina and is often one of the defining moments of a person’s life.
The average person is usually immobilized from extreme soreness for a handful of days following running marathon, but not Dean Karnazes. After completing a marathon, he woke up the next day and did it all over again.
He ran another marathon. Then he ran another and another. In total, Karnazes ran 50 marathons in each of the 50 U.S. states in 50 consecutive days. When he completed his last race, the New York City marathon, he decided to head back home to San Francisco. He did so by running there.
Karnazes is a decorated super-runner. In Oct. 2005, he spent three sleepless nights running more than 350 miles nonstop through Northern California raising money for charity as well as making a claim for the title one of the fittest men on the planet.
Karnazes possesses an uncanny ability to run incredible distances and is considered one of the fittest men on the planet. His capabilities have been tested by science and one study found that Karnazes’ muscles damage much less with exercise than a normal person’s does.
His muscles actually get accustomed to continuous exercise and stop being damaged all together, meaning that over the course of his 50-marathon stint, his body adapted to his running schedule and his muscles experienced comparable strain running the 183.4 miles per week as they would walking the halls of an office job.
What makes this all possible can attributed to Karnazes having more blood in his circulatory system than the average person, which allows him to stay hydrated for longer. Medical testing concluded that Karnazes is a walking battery; as long as he stays properly hydrated and nourished, he can literally run at a seven to 10-minute per mile pace forever.
The Icaman – Wim Hof
Wim Hof has been baffling scientists for years. In temperatures that would be extreme torturous and fatal to the average human, Hof not only survives; he thrives in it.
They call him the Iceman.
This is a man who has climbed Mount Everest and Kilimanjaro in shorts and a T-shirt and told ABC News that it was “easy.” He ran half a marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot and in shorts, where the ground temperature was 35 degrees below. He also completed a full marathon above the Arctic Circle in shorts.
In total, Hof has 18 Guinness World Records. He took the world’s longest ice bath at 1 hour 52 minutes, shattering the record previously set by himself, his only real competition. Hof says on his website that his powers lie in meditation and anybody can learn it.
He taught himself how to control his heart rate, breathing and blood circulation and essentially warm himself up from the inside out using his mind. Heart rate, breathing and blood circulation are regulated by the autonomic nervous system, where conventional scientific knowledge was that a person cannot consciously control it, but Hof can, baffling scientists everywhere.
Even while completely immersed in ice, Hof can regulate his core body temperature and maintain it at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. During Hof’s barefooted half marathon in arctic in 2007, he had a medic accompany him and she noticed deep into the race that Hof’s feet stopped receiving blood circulation.
Hof finished the race anyway. He somehow was able to restore circulation into his feet, and walked away from the race and went on to compete in other incredible tests of physical and mental strength, leaving the medic and the whole science world for that matter, literally speechless.
Super Balance – Eskil Ronningsbakken
At age 18, Eskil ran off to the circus – literally.
This Adventurer is sitting upside down on top of a bicycle suspended in the air in a Norwegian fjord more than 3,280 feet in the air on top of a wire. With just a small weight in place below for stability, one wrong move and it’s a long fall into the icy waters below. Add brisk winds and being miniscule clothing to the mix and you have one of the most extreme balancing and visually stimulating stunts performed by Eskil Ronningsbakken.
The Norwegian performer considers himself as an artist; he wants his death-defying balancing acts to serve as expressions of art versus stunts. Walking a tightrope between two hot-air balloons, perching on the edge of a cliff face on a unicycle, standing on a rope above a waterfall using a block of ice as a platform to stand on, balancing upside down on a chair on top of a cliff, mark just some of the incredible capabilities in Ronningsbakken’s repertoire.
Ronningsbakken has a real superhuman ability to not only balance at incredible heights, but he also makes a claim for being the man without fear. In a segment of The History Channel’s Superhumans that featured Ronningsbakken that you will see in the video above, he met with scientists who hooked up him to a heart monitoring machine and the scientists took readings of his heart rate when he was sitting in the room and again when he was balancing upside down on top of a chair on the edge of a 100-foot tall building.
The body’s natural reaction to a fear-enduring situation is a faster heart rate; quickened blood pressure and breathing as well the release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The results indicated Ronningsbakken’s heart rate was virtually the exact same, meaning he felt the same physically dangling upside down off the edge of a building as he did sitting in a chair.
Ronningsbakken uses his superhuman ability of living without fear to perform jaw-dropping visual performances and said using harnesses and safety nets are against his principles. His next stunt may be his biggest yet, as Ronningsbakken plans to balance on top of the tallest building of the world, the Burj in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In April 2013, Eskil added a new trick to his death-defying repertoire: he did it all blindfolded. Walking over a bridge more than 1,000 feet in the air is enough to make even us toughest Adventurers nervous. Watch and marvel as Eskil amps up the wow-factor by performing his incredible talent with a blindfold.
Super Reflexes – Isao Machii
Isao Machii has the ability to use his real superhuman reflexes and sword skills to cut a BB gun pellet in half and slice an apple in mid-air.
The History Channel calls him a modern-day samurai, and has been perfecting his incredible swordsman skills since age 5. His years of sword training coupled with his lightning-fast reflexes make him able to perform unbelievable tricks using hand-eye coordination.
In the Superhuman segment of The History Channel, his abilities were tested out at a firing range. As you will see in the above video, the BB gun was fired at Machii at a firing range and he drew his sword and sliced the pellet in half on the first try.
To put the feat into perspective, the BB gun shoots at 200 miles per hour. The BB gun pellet traveled too fast to be registered by the human eye. The experimenters heard the ping sound of the impact of the sword blade as it hit the pellet, though, and then reviewed the footage.
The average person would spend 3/10 of a second to just process the sound of the BB gun being shot before he or she could even begin to think about reacting. By the time the average person registered what is happening, the pellet would have passed them, which means Machii and his abilities take hand-eye coordination to a level previously thought not humanly possible.
Because an object traveling at 200 miles per hour is too fast for the human eye to register, Machii is operating on an entirely different sensory level. He is anticipating and processing when the pellet will arrive. Machii’s extreme reflexes make him able to predict not only where the object will be when it arrives, but when the object will get there as well.
The World’s Strongest Kid – Liam Hoekstra
Like most professionally-trained gymnasts, Liam Hoekstra has demonstrated athletic promise from a young age. Unlike most professionally trained gymnasts, Liam Hoekstra started performing a gymnastics move usually reserved for experts at 5 months old.
By 8 months, Liam could do a pull-up and by 9 months, he could climb the stairs. Liam’s incredible strength caught the attention of his adoptive parents, who brought him to a specialist, where he was then diagnosed with a rare condition called myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy.
While Liam is not the only documented case of super strength, there is a German boy who was born with a defective myostatin gene that showed super strength, but Gimundo reports that Liam is the first case in which there are no ill effects.
While Liam is just 3 years old, he has already garnered national attention from media and body builders alike. Liam’s family is limiting his media exposure at his young age in order for him to have a relatively normal childhood. But from a kid who can lift weights and perform Olympic-worthy feats before even graduating from the sandbox, “relatively” is the operative word for a kid with real superhuman strength.